US Secretary of State John Kerry has praised Indian students for speaking out against gender-based violence, saying the issue is a global problem and that gender can never be a justification to commit violence.
“Gender-based violence is a problem in every country around the globe, including the United States. One in three women around the world will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime,” Kerry said on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
He said the cause is deeply personal to him and that gender is no justification for committing violence.
“Today we celebrate the many stories of courageous and bold action to end gender-based violence — the nuns helping people escape sex trafficking, the men in Argentina teaching boys in football clubs to treat women with respect, the businesswomen in Detroit raising money to test rape kits, and the college students in India speaking out against gender-based violence and advocating for stronger enforcement of laws and public safety,” Kerry said in a statement.
The US is committed to tackling these issues by strengthening the rule of law, extending a hand to survivors, and working to change outdated attitudes about women and girls.
“We’re also working with global partners to eradicate conflict-related sexual violence, and we welcome a new G7 report highlighting the power of collective action,” he said.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 has its origins in the 1960 assassination of three of the four Mirabal sisters — Antonia, Maria and Patricia — who were political activists in the Dominican Republic.
On the 15th year of this annual commemoration, the top American diplomat rued that far too many cases of violence continue to occur — wife beaten by husband in Papua New Guinea, college students sexually assaulted on campus in the US, women raped by government soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Other cases of gender-based violence include the 15-year-old girl in Europe at risk of female genital mutilation, the young Afghan stoned to death because she refused to be married, and the thousands of minority women and girls enslaved by Daesh and subjected to serious human rights abuses, he said.